Can I use Latex with Microsoft Word?

1. May 28, 2004

Mark

Hey, im sure most people here have dealt with the torture of writing physics labs which deal heavily with Math. Microsoft Word provides no help in doing equations, calculations, etc. And Im wondering if I could get a Latex type of program to add into word,

anybody know of anything?

2. May 28, 2004

robphy

3. May 28, 2004

Chen

I don't think it's LaTeX, but I know that at least my Word 2003 comes with a built in equation generator. I actually had no idea it existed until I downloaded someone's physics lab report and saw that it uses this feature. To create a new equation, choose Object from the Insert menu in Word, and from the list of object types select Microsoft Equation 3.0 (or whichever version you have). The first time you run it you will see a notice about an available MathType plugin.

Good luck!

4. May 28, 2004

Mark

MathType is a 30 day trial, so that will last for a while....

But I still dont really understand latex, outside of the context of the forums. Like can I dowload Latex, and just get a pluggin for it to work with Word....?

5. May 28, 2004

krab

Forget Word. Just download LaTeX for Windows and use it directly; it's not hard to learn and very rewarding; for typesetting math formulas, nothing else comes close. Where I work, chemists and engineers use MSWord, but most of the physicists use LaTeX.

6. May 28, 2004

TALewis

The Equation Editor in Word is pretty good, and it's fine for inserting equations into your Word doc.

LaTeX by itself is much more than a way to write equations; it's an entire typesetting language. It's basically used for writing technical papers, or even whole books.

7. May 28, 2004

enigma

Staff Emeritus
Microsoft Equation editor 3.0 isn't a trial offer. Mathtype may be, but EE isn't

8. May 29, 2004

Mark

But you must use word to type reports. If writing a lab or something, you would use Latex to type normally, then just use it for math when you need too?

I tried Microsoft's equation editor, and its alright, but can i download a latex, as an alternative, then just copy the equations in?

I have windows xp...

9. May 29, 2004

TALewis

LaTeX is a typesetting language meant for writing entire papers. It's capable of much more than just the equations you see on this forum.

However, the way you write a report in LaTeX is similar to the way you write a web page in HTML: it's not WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get). You don't use a word processor like MS Word. Instead, you use a text editor like Notepad. When you are ready to produce your finished paper, you take the text file containing your work / LaTeX code and run it through the LaTeX program, which will output a postcript or PDF file for printing. All in all, it is very different than what most people are used to, but it is powerful nonetheless.

If you are curious what a paper written in LaTeX looks like, here is the .tex file for a paper I wrote last semester:

http://omega.uta.edu/~tal0701/lab6.tex [Broken]

And here is the PDF result when the LaTeX is "compiled:"

http://omega.uta.edu/~tal0701/lab6.pdf [Broken]

LaTeX is rewarding, but it requires a different mindset: "typesetting" vs. "word processing."

Edit: The .tex file above might have looked ugly for a few minutes after I posted due to the differences between UNIX and DOS newline characters. I have since converted the .tex file to DOS style so it looks better.

Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
10. May 29, 2004

Mark

Wow, thanks so much for the post Lewis, I had no idea latex could do all that.....graphs even!!!! From your expieriences do you think it faster using latex, or word (on the assumption that you are fluent in latex).

Last edited: May 29, 2004
11. May 29, 2004

robphy

You could use LaTeX to render the equations as a graphics image.
Then, paste that image in Word.
Of course, you won't be able to edit the equation in Word.
By the way, if the image is a raster (as opposed to vector) image, it may not scale well.

You might want to look into Word2TeX and TeX2Word at http://www.chikrii.com/ .

On a side note, I'm looking forward to MathJournal (which has yet to appear) http://www.xthink.com/ which is rumored (http://www.handheld-pcs.com/view_news.asp?ID=1567) to be able to take TabletPC ink and render it and convert it to LaTeX or MathML.

Last edited by a moderator: Apr 20, 2017
12. May 29, 2004

chroot

Staff Emeritus
LaTeX is much faster than Word once you're good at it. You don't have to worry about any of the formatting. You just type in your text, put the appropriate structure commands around it, and let LaTeX do all the work in determining where and how to place all the elements of the document. Only in the rare cases when LaTeX makes a bad decision do you ever really have to muck with it. On the other hand, most of the time I spend with Word is involved in trying to fix minutia like some weird margin problem or getting some figure on the right page or get some table to look halfway decent.

For some other examples of an entirely different kind of LaTeX output, check out some of my astronomy notes:

http://users.vnet.net/warrenc/astro/mythology.pdf [Broken]
http://users.vnet.net/warrenc/astro/introduction.pdf [Broken]
http://users.vnet.net/warrenc/astro/stars.pdf [Broken]
http://users.vnet.net/warrenc/astro/cosmology.pdf [Broken]

- Warren

Last edited by a moderator: May 1, 2017
13. May 29, 2004

TALewis

A note about the graphs: The graphs themselves were created in Excel. LaTeX allows you to embed graphs and charts and tables from any other program as long as they are in the right format (usually .ps or .eps or something similar). For example, in other reports I have included plots from MATLAB and gnuplot. LaTeX itself, however, has little to no graphing capability.

14. May 29, 2004

Mark

OK, i have been convinced, graphs are easy with excel anyway, so where can i find the best free latex (this is the last newb question - i promise)!

15. May 29, 2004

TALewis

I don't have any direct experience with LaTeX on Windows; it's traditionally most popular on UNIX platforms. However, I think this might be the eminent Windows implementation of LaTeX:

http://www.miktex.org/

There is a FAQ there that might be helpful.

16. May 29, 2004

chroot

Staff Emeritus
Yep, MikTeX is what you want. If you need help, let us know. I use MikTeX on Windows frequently.

- Warren

17. May 29, 2004

Mark

Thanks everyone for your help, im gonna start it. Mabye it will take some time to adapt to it, but hopefully it will work out.

Thanks again,
Mark

18. May 30, 2004

Dr Transport

Use TeXnicCenter for a gui, it is the best out there. See the LateX Thread.